This is Freddie. Until he was ready for adoption, his foster family kept a daily log about his journey from breeding kennel to happy home:
Day 1 (7-17-21) Picked up Freddie. Rode home without making a sound. Brought him into the kitchen, kept crate door closed while resident dogs sniffed and wagged. Opened crate door, slipped on leash and left the crate door open. Freddie stayed there for several hours, paws inching to the crate doorway. Gently lifted him out through the top of the crate and carried him outside. Heavy and unsure, but did not fight the contact.
For the first day, he is the most timid Westie we have fostered, but he does not shy away from husband's hand or voice. Overnight stayed in the kitchen-family room with Rosie the dachsie who went to bed and ignored him.
Day 2 (7-18-21) Carried him out to piddle and he contributed to the communal piddle-spot. Offered his own bowl of breakfast, but he ignored it to wander about.
Does not seem frightened at household noises: coffee perking, opening and closing refrigerator door.....We've been to the grassy back yard a few times.
When he is on grass Freddie's tail wags. He is now butt-sniffing the resident dogs. Stewie shys away. Eddie growls. Rosie sleep through. Husband made a fuss over Layla. Freddie came up to husband, asking for attention, wagging his tail with short motions.
Ate all his supper and hung around husband's chair with the other dogs while we ate. Still a bit skittish about going outside though he wags his tail as he walks about the grass in fenced yard. Did not want bedtime snack. Barked a few times about 2 am.
Day 3 (7-19-2021) Up a little before 5 a.m. Picked Freddie up and carried him outside, again, he was stiff-legged, but did not fight being picked up. This is very good for being so newly released from a boarding kennel as they are often terrified of being picked up, sometimes a whole new sensation! Set him down on the patio, initially just wanted to go back in the house, but then he was pleased to find himself on grass. Grass is often a new experience for breeding dogs, too. He piddled a short piddle. Ate almost all his breakfast. Freddie is a very messy eater!
Then I sat in the kitchen with tea and Freddie came into the room and occasionally wagged his tail. It made me very happy, this small gesture of newly forming trust.
This foster likes my husband and is attuned to him because of the treats, I think. When it comes time for his forever home Freddie may want an applicant with a low key and soft spoken man who may have a wife, but definitely has a fenced yard!
Freddie comes to my husband, tail wagging, asking to be petted. Sometimes Freddie will lower his head as though worried he might be hit, but his tail keeps wagging. We are delighted Freddie likes my husband; so many retired breeding dogs are afraid of adult men.
We had lunch and my husband offered a tiny piece of sausage to Freddie. He sniffed it, gently took the piece, the whole time his tail wagged. Freddie walked away about 10 feet to eat it, then was back immediately asking for more. When we finished Freddie walked to the dining room doorway and looked into unknown territory, but he did not dare go down the step.
When my husband talks to him, Freddie will turn and look and wag.
After lunch I took the dogs out to the fenced yard again. First Freddie tried to entice one of our dogs to play, but no takers yet. The other dogs ran to go in, but Freddie walked about the yard, just enjoying being there. He would walk 10 feet and piddle, sniff the air, wag his tail. Walk another 10 feet, piddle again, tilt his head to watch the sky, wag his tail. Freedom is sweet!
Multiple times that evening one of us would call Freddie, reach out our hand, palm toward him. Freddie would walk over, tail wagging and give our hand a lick. Tonight Freddie accepted the bedtime treat! Yes!
Day 4 (7-20-2021) The dogs eat from metal bowls and each dog has his/her spot. I set the bowl down as I saay the dog's name, the dog is already at his/her spot with tail wagging. This morning Freddie was alert and eager as I set the bowls on the table to add the kibble. When I brought his bowl over and said "Freddie" he was at the spot he has adopted: next to a dog bed with his back against a recliner. Sprinkled some beef and rice over the kibble: he left only one grain of rice (insurance for the next meal maybe?).
Day 7 (7-23-2021) This morning Freddie greeted me with tail wagging, was fine with me carrying him outside, walked about and piddled, walked and piddled, sniffed with Loon who was piddling and piddled in the same spot at the same time (buddies bonding). Freddie was eager for breakfast today. He is getting so comfortable and used to the routine.
We were walking in the back yard when a commercial plane went overhead. Freddie did not panic, but he definitely noticed.
Our adult son came over to visit and have supper. After supper we sat in the family room and talked. Freddie walked to our son's leg and nosed his hand. While our son petted him, Freddie's tail wagged. Meeting a stranger! Another important milestone.
Later that evening my husband held Rosie in his lap and petted her and Freddie came to my husband's feet asking for attention. He petted both dogs. Freddie definitely likes male humans.
Freddie is the nicest Westie we have fostered and closest to the nicest dog. We need to find him a very loving home. Not just an okay, but a great home.
Day 8 (7-24-2021) This morning when I came into the kitchen Freddie was standing in the family room looking at me and wagging his tail. Carried him out. He walked a short distance on the grass and made a long piddle.
Freddie gets soft food until his mouth heals from the dental cleaning (retired breeding Westies often lose many teeth when they come into rescue, a combination of often substandard food and lack of veterinary/dental care). Once the last dog was inside Freddie was eagerly waiting for breakfast and ate all except a few grains of rice. Each time we talk to him he wags his tail.While I putter about with dishes and laundry, Freddie sits on a piddle pad and watches the world. Rosie sleeps in the bed next to him.
At night we all sat in the family room. Freddie asked to be petted, but then slept in a dog bed on his back, front legs curved and his back legs splayed--the ultimate position of trust.
Day 9 (7-25-2021) Today a woman rang the doorbell to ask if she could cut some Queen Anne's Lace to feed to her caterpillars. We invited her inside to meet the dogs (she had adopted from Tailwaggers911). Freddie wagged and licked and wagged his butt into swaying, happy to meet her. Meeting another stranger! Wonderful confidence building experience.
He seems to have the idea of going potty outside though there will be accidents.
In the afternoon I sat on the sofa and put Freddie next to me. I moved a fingertip from his head, down his spine, to the top of his tail (I read in a book about dogs that this is a calming technique). Freddie stayed about half an hour. We gently put him back on the floor and instead of going to the circular bed, he lay on the flat dog bed and put his nose on Rosie's haunch. She kept sleeping. (Rosie is a very senior lady).
Went outside. Came back and put Freddie on the sofa again. As the first time, he looked around: seeing the room from a new perspective.
Day 10 (7-26-2021) In the family room Freddie barked. Three short barks, and the second time in a week he has barked. His voice is higher than one would expect. A puppy mill retiree finding his voice is a moment to be cherished!
Got the dogs out, picked up Freddie and we walked the grass until he piddled. High praise. Then back inside for breakfast.
Breakfast seldom varies: dry kibble, but one would think it's a banquet for the jubilation that accompanies it. We follow the same routine. Layla's is always first, since she dines in the cage to avoid her stealing other dogs' meals.
After breakfast Rosie took over the bed that Freddie uses. Rather than switching to her bed Freddie simply sat next to Rosie-in-the-Freddie-bed.
Stair Training Kennel dogs don't know anything about stairs. They have lived their whole lives on one level whether sawdust, metal, concrete, wire, dirt, bottom tier or top tier of a stack of kennels. Freddie has watched the other dogs go up the two stairs from the patio to the back door. He has been carried outside and back. Today I set him on the top step with his front paws inside the house and his back paws on the step. He froze. I praised and cajoled. He didn't move. I gently lifted his hindquarters so that all of him was inside the back hallway.
The next time we go outside and come back in, I put Freddie's front paws on the inside hallway surface and his back feet on the top stair and give his butt a gentle touch. He lurches upward into the house. Success! Such a smart dog.
Third lesson: Freddie half-lay with one hind leg up on the inside hallway and the other hind foot still on the step. I lifted the hind foot and gently set in on the hallway floor. He went inside! I think he's getting it.
I'm on the sofa with the 4 dogs. I put Freddie next to me which annoyed Uncle Dudley. Uncle tries to slip his head beneath Freddie's. Freddie tries to put his head under Uncle's. We have bobbing heads as each dog attempts to be closer to me than the other. Stewie leaves for the end of the sofa.
The rest of the day each time I sat on the sofa Freddie came over, stood in front of the sofa and looked at me. Freddie has decided he likes the sofa.
When I am in the kitchen cooking Freddie stands on his hind legs to see what I am doing. Becoming confident enough to be curious.
Day 11 (7-27-2021) Working on stairs, Freddie managed to get one back paw into the house and then squatted, waited. I lifted the fourth paw up and he slouched inside.
Day 12 (7-28-2021) Freddie is getting better at climbing the single stair to the back hallway. He gets a little stiff when I pick him up and we go toward the stair. Then I set him with his paws on the inside hallway and his rear legs on the stair and he slowly lifts one rear foot at a time. No hesitation unless one wants to count his slowness. "I think I'm getting the hang of this shifting levels thing."
This morning he was sniffing the new recliner and I said his name, he gave a guilty start, and moved away. He knows his name! Another milestone.
Our friends from California visited with their 100# golden retriever. Freddie was fascinated. He walked along the dog when both were outside in the fenced yard. He sniffed the dog's feet when the dog napped. He would leave his bed and go over to check out this big dog. Freddie also went to the visitors, tail wagging, to make friends. He is delightfully unafraid of strange humans.
Day 13 (7-29-2021) This morning Freddie woke up at 5:15, so he could go outside and piddle: he did. Came back inside and was eager for breakfast.
In the evening we watched the baseball game, my husband sitting on his recliner and me sitting on the sofa next to the recliner. I put Freddie up on the sofa next to me and spent about half an hour massaging his ears, his chest, his back. When I put him back on the floor, he stood in front of me, staring at me.
He is getting more adept at climbing the stair from the patio to the back hallway, so next week I plan to have him do both stairs rather than starting him halfway.
Day 18 (8-3-2021) Freddie barked a few times during the night, I think from wanting the rest of us with him. Rosie just keeps sleeping.
When I took him outside for the morning trip, he made another huge piddle and I praised him thoroughly. We came back inside for breakfast. Freddie anticipates each meal with joy: jiggling, a bark, much tail wagging. We have a standard routine: each dog receives its bowl at the same place and we say the name of each dog as we give the dog the bowl of food. Freddie is a fast eater.
He has very regular bowel habits: each morning, from half an hour to an hour after breakfast. Today for the first time, Uncle Dudly initiated play. Freddie was thrilled, and the two of them cavorted.
I had ripped one section off thre roll of paper towels, folded it in half, and put it on the side table of the sofa, to use as a coaster. It fell to the floor and I did not pick it up. A few hours later, Freddie ripped it into pieces -- very happily.
Sat on the sofa to read. Freddie begged to come up there with us. He turned so that he lay with his body lengthwise against my leg, put his head in my lap, and went to sleep.
In the evening I visited a friend while my husband was here with the dogs. When I came home, the dogs came into the kitchen and stood behind the Dutch door, barking and wagging. For the first time, Freddie came into the kitchen with them (previously he had stayed in the family room, also barking and wagging).
Freddie has collected several toys in the round (and rimmed) bed he uses. The golden retriever had begun ripping apart one toy to remove the stuffing, and Freddie is continuing this process.
Day 19 (8-4-2021) We kept the stove cook surface light on overnight and this seemed to help: Freddie was completely quiet overnight.
Day 20 (8-5-2021) House training goes well. Freddie seems to have the idea that once we go "outside" we do not come back in until he has produced. This morning it took only a few minutes for him to piddle.
He does the stairs easily (though his back legs still come out at a crocodile-angle). About 25 feet from the stair, he seems to remember that there are stairs on the way into the house, and he will stop. I talk gently to him, pick him up around his chest, take him to the stairs, and set him on the patio at the foot of the stairs. He climbs up into the house.
I dropped a plastic water bottle (small one, maybe 16 oz) on the floor as I was reaching for a mug, and though Freddie noticed and flinched a bit -- like the other dogs -- he did not panic.
Day 23 (8-8-2021) Someone (author unknown) made a piddle in the family room and Freddie had dragged the leash through it. I took off the leash and set it by the basement door to take it down to wash. Five minutes later, the leash was at Freddie's bed. Put the leash back to the basement door and went to do an errand in the living room. Came back, and the leash was again by Freddie's bed. Apparently, Freddie likes having a leash near himself. At the border between the kitchen and family room is the crate: suitable in size for a lab, and where the dogs sometimes lie down to escape the other dogs. Layla has her meals there because otherwise she would gobble her food and then try a coup on someone else's dinner. Freddie was watching us eat supper. His tail moved "windshield-wiper" side to side. With his head in the way, we could see the tail appear on either side of his haunches, then disappear, then appear behind the opposite haunch. Then he backed up and went "clang" into the open gate of the crate. It clinked. He jumped and beat feet into the family room. Someone came to visit and first sat in a recliner, then moved to the sofa. Freddie begged to come up on the sofa, and sat between us. He nosed her hand and then licked her hand. In another development, the Loon first sat behind me (not new) and then lay his head on Freddie's rump (new). We read, sitting on the sofa. Freddie lay with his belly toward my leg and one of his legs draped over mine. Then we went outside to the backyard and in 5 minutes he had produced a piddle and a stack of poop like Brown n Serve sausages.
Day 24 (8-9-2021) The organic alarm went off at 4:50 a.m. This may seem early, however, except for my husband, we all go to bed early. Significantly, the alarm and the family room were both dry, and it's worth getting up to get them outside to keep it so.
Took Freddie less than 2 minutes to find a spot. Then we went back to the rear door. Freddie still needs reassurance as we reach the door. I lift him, set his paws on the step, and reach above him to open the door. Then someone (generally the Loon) rushes past, and goes inside. Freddie is a bit nonplussed. Then he climbs inside.
Went to the farm and when I came home, took a shower. We (four dogs and I) sat on the sofa. Freddie licked my hand, walked about on the space between Stewie and Layla and the Loon (who was back to being aggrieved when in contact with Freddie) and then settled down to nap. After that, it was dog-supper, and dog-out.
Freddie stands on his hind legs and looks for me when I am in another room. He has terrific balance and will turn a half circle, staying on his hind legs. We tried to get a photo, but each time I reached for the camera, he would go back on all four feet.
We all went to bed at the same time (usually my husband stays up later to watch tv). As we turned out the main kitchen light, Freddie dragged the brown reindeer toy to his bed.
Day 25 (8-10-2021) Freddie's hair is growing out from his mill-release (we call them prison haircuts) haircut. There's a tiny feathering along his legs and longer hair all over his body, giving him a gentle halo look.
We got corn from a farm stand, shucked it, and boiled the ears to have "fresh" corn over winter. Two brown grocery bags were sitting next to the kitchen chairs where we worked. Freddie would not come near them. He finally came into the kitchen when I moved the bags away.
The rainstorm was beginning, so we got the dogs out before a heavy rain. Some of the dogs ignore the rain; some refuse to go outside. Freddie was okay with going out in the rain, but he kept shaking his coat, trying to dislodge the water.
Day 26 (8-11-2021) Freddie and I were out in the fenced backyard, wandering, hunting for a "right spot." A garbage truck came down the street and made one of those deep thump-clunks that garbage trucks do when they are moving -- not the picking up cans, just the moving along the street. Freddie's ears went back, he jumped, and he tried to run away. Since he was on a leash, he did not run far; but the sound bothered him. "What the heck WAS that????"
In one of the dog books I read about a calming practice: Lightly trace a fingertip from a dog's head to the base of its tail. I've put Rosie to sleep doing this. Today I used it on Freddie when he came up to sit next to me on the sofa; he was asleep with his head nestled next to my leg, within a few minutes.
We were getting to the end of a bag of dog (bedtime) treats, so I gave each dog a half-treat. Freddie ate his eagerly and then (the first time he has done that) he came back to me for the rest of the snack. These are some of the moments of joy, the first time a retired puppy mill dog does something all your other dogs take for granted.
Day 28 (8-13-2021) Rosie is a dachshund and a typical UnderWonder--she likes being underneath a blanket. Her favorite bed is the marshmallow--a round bed with an attached cover where she can use her nose to lift it and snuggle beneath it.
This morning I was having coffee and pondering the day when from my peripheral vision, I saw one of the piddle pads in the family room move, jerk. I turned slowly and watched as Freddie took the edge of it in his mouth, pulling it so that as he sat in his bed amid toys, the piddle pad formed a quarter-cover. When he tentatively took a chew, I told him that we do not chew on our friends. He sat quietly in the bed (raised edge) with the assorted toys and the piddle pad cover.
We took Freddie to the vet for his Lepto and Lyme booster shots. My husband drove. I sat with a piddle pad on my lap (Freddie has very sharp nails) and the leash wound around my hand and arm. At first Freddie vibrated, but after we massaged his ears, he sat quietly and watched traffic. At the clinic, he showed no signs of distress when I handed him to the tech. She brought him back and said how well he had done. The counter women said Freddie was a great dog. Then I lifted his paw and said, "Say goodby, Freddie," and waved his front paw. Freddie did not wiggle or move. On the way home, Freddie sat on my lap and watched the traffic.
Day 29 (8-14-2021) We cleaned the family room today, moving all the furniture as we usually do. For Freddie, this was at least the second/third time. He wandered about, watching the bed where he sleeps, as it migrated to the kitchen and back, but he did not seem distressed by the cleaning.
Friends visited for supper and to sit and talk during the evening. Freddie begged to sit on the sofa next to the wife. She petted him for a while and then lifted him to be next to her husband, who massaged Freddie's ears. He seemed to enjoy it a lot.
During the evening, Freddie napped next to the wife, crosswise on the sofa cushion with one front leg dangling over the edge of the sofa, and occasionally licked her hand.
Day 30 (8-15-2021) I was baking cookies and sat down on the kitchen chair for a few minutes while one of the pans was in the oven. The Loon rushed up, stood on his hind legs, wagged his tail, and wanted attention. Stewie joined him, also wagging and begging. Then Freddie came in from the family room, so the three of them were lined up around my knees. The rest of the dogs slept.
Scene: sunny backyard, early afternoon
Enter from House: Me with dogs
Me: Okay, let's do what we need to do. No, don't step in it [piddle on patio].
[Walks to grassy area.]
Me: Okay, Freddie, let's hunt for a piddle.
Freddie makes a U-turn and I try not be entangled in the leash. Loon works at being underfoot.
Me: Loon! Stop rolling in it [rabbit poop].
Layla: barks at whatever she thinks is hiding behind the trees at the end of the yard.
Freddie takes three steps forward, changes his direction, smells the air. He thinks this feint will allow him to go back into the house. I hold the leash. Freddie goes on his hind legs, similar to a horse rearing. I stand with the leash loop in my hand. Freddie sniffs the air and moves forward.
Stewie: noses around the pool to find a spot to poop, preferably at the deep end deck where husband will find it when he cleans the pool.
Freddie wanders a bit and squats. His tail, held upright, quivers.
Me: [falsetto voice] Yeah, Freddie! Yeah, Freddie! [claps]
Freddie stands and walks away from the watered spot.
Me: [normal voice] That's a pretty short piddle.
Husband opens back door. Eddie rushes inside.
Husband: Layla, come.
Layla barks at invisible whatzit.
Rose walks away from a freshly-made poop. Freddie walks over it; I sidestep quickly to avoid it. The poop steams.
Me: Loon! Stop that.
Me: Come on, Stewie.
Freddie pulls leash to get to back door, remembers that back door can threaten him, and stops on patio.
Loon rushes past Freddie and goes up back steps.
Me: Come on, Freddie! You can do it! We don't want flies in the house!
Freddie studies the back door [which still does not move to threaten him] and the back steps [ditto].
Husband: Come on, Layla!
Freddie slowly advanced to back step and looks at it. Places a paw on it. Climbs into the house, narrowly avoided by Stewie who hops up the back steps.
Freddie: Whew. Inside. Safe. Door thing did not attack! Step thing did not move! Good day so far.
Day 3 (8-16-2021) Morning! Rosie had rolled herself so effectively in a Packer lap blanket that she was thrashing about, a rumpled log of fabric. Freddie hovered over her, barking. Unrolled Rose who emerged ready for breakfast. Took the dogs out: Freddie piddled almost immediately, and turned to the house.
He greeted breakfast with tail wags, prancing, and turning in circles of happiness. [Same old kibble]
And a disappointing note: after breakfast someone made two small poops and Freddie tried to indulge in second-breakfast. I told him that we did not do that sort of thing, at this house.
Rosie rolled the lap blanket around herself and went back to sleep.
Day 32 (8-17-2021) While we spend most of the time in the kitchen/family room, I keep the knitting in the living room (less opportunity for the dogs to sit in the skein of yarn). Freddie has not yet come into the living room on his own, but he comes further across the kitchen toward the doorway.
Each night we have a last "out" and then most of us go off to bed. Husband will watch tv.
Freddie now knows this routine well enough that instead of piddling, he will go outside, strain at the leash (especially as the other dogs produce and go back inside), and want only to get back inside for that bedtime treat. He will come into the kitchen where they are unwrapped and wait, tail wagging, for his treat, then carry it back to the family room.
The unfortunate part of this treat-fixation, is that then sometimes he will have his before bed piddle/poop in the family room. I'm trying to figure out if treat before outside would work.
Day 33 (8-18-2021) I sit down on the sofa to read, and immediately Freddie begs to be lifted up next to me. The first 5 or 10 minutes is frantic hand nuzzling, hand licking, pushing himself against me (while another dog tries to establish first-here territory). After about 20 minutes, Freddie has calmed enough to lay himself along my leg, pressing himself against me. At this point, I can pick up a book with the other hand or shift my legs. If I stay quiet, Freddie will nap with his self pressed against me. When I get up, he sits on the sofa, tail wagging, asking to be lifted to the floor. [We're still working on down: down steps, down from the sofa.]
Our adult son came over, and after supper we all watched an episode of Marvel What if? [What if there was a Captain England rather than a Captain America? What if Thanos turned into a good guy?]. Then our son left, I worked on a project and for a few minutes came into the family room to watch the baseball game. Freddie begged to come up on the sofa with me and sank "bonelessly" against me. Loon ignored Freddie. When I petted the Loon, Freddie licked my hand.
We tried a bedtime routine of treat-first and then outside. Everyone was puzzled (me, too), but once they had enjoyed the treat, out we went. Freddie walked about 30 feet on the grass and made a nice-sized poop. Rosie pooped. We all went back inside (more treat? No) and went to bed.
Day 34 (8-19-2021) Working on the morning piddle today, as in getting it to happen in the correct location. [Sigh.]
I got out the kibble and the bowls. Freddie stood on his hind legs and pawed the air with his front feet, very eager for breakfast.
We also started working on [theme today seems to be "working on"] basic obedience, as described by the kennel club class which my husband and I took with the dachs. Layla performed beautifully; Tickie refused to stop barking at the other dogs, even when he and I were screened with hurdles and blankets.]
The first command was, "--, come!" rewarded always by a nice something eat.There, we were told to cut slices of summer sausage into tiny squares and put those in our pockets or our obedience class pouch. Here, I used a piece of dry kibble, one of the nice ones, and went into the family room where Freddie got out of bed. "Freddie, come!" and he gently took the kibble from my fingers. Layla showed up in case I was handing out samples. Both of them have burgeoning waistlines.
In the evening, we spent a little while watching the baseball game: on the sofa. With me were Stewie (the other end of the sofa); Layla (across the arm rest and my leg); the Loon, and Freddie (at my other side with their rear legs entwined). One lay on his side and one on his back with his belly upward.
The bed time treat then outside to poop worked again.
Day 35 (8-20-2021) We went out twice (once in the fog which did not seem to blip on Freddie's radar), and the second time when there was still the heavy dew on the grass. He does not like getting his feet wet, but he will come along after me (apparently okay with him for me to get my feet wet).
When my husband got up, Layla rushed in to say good morning. Freddie squeaked from the family room, until he went out there to say good morning to Freddie. Then when I sat at the kitchen table with my husband to talk about our schedule for today, Freddie came up to me and wanted to lick my hand and to have his ears and head gently rubbed.
Treat and poop didn't work. Fred and I walked about the grass, providing a snack for the mosquitoes, but Fred didn't deliver.
Day 36 (8-21-2021) Fred is a poop eater. More than a few mill dogs are; some non-mill dogs are. My mind does not give back the vet term, but this morning as I was putting coffee into my husband's cup I looked up and there he was in the family room, happily munching. One 3" length was still on the floor. Scooped that into paper to flush; it was still steaming warm. Fred sat in his bed, jaws working.
I gently moved him aside and picked up the small nuggets at his feet. He did not resist, but he made himself as heavy as he could (which is getting heavier each day with the food).
old Fred that no, we did not eat poop. The only emotion that Fred seemed to exhibit was the combination of enjoyment (yum) and disappointment (all gone).
We all learned. I learned that if Freddie does not poop on the last tour before bed, I should probably begin the next morning by taking him out to piddle, bringing him in for breakfast, and immediately take him our again so he can deposit in the yard I think Freddie learned that poop when he's been eating nice food is even better than when he was in the mill.
After we were cleaned, I went into the dining room to work on dog beds: a fundraiser item for a rescue. Freddie would come 3/4 of the way across the kitchen floor and then squeak in unhappiness that we were not with him. I looked into the kitchen, talked with him, told him that he could join us, but he would back away.
We went out in the yard hunting for a piddle (didn't find one) and a motorcycle went up the street, backfiring. Freddie became very agitated.
Editor's note: There doesn't seem to be a consensus about why some dogs eat poop and most do not. One theory relating to puppy mill dogs is that nutrition is often poor so they "recycle" what they get. Another theory relating to puppy mill dogs is that the mothers are used to having to clean up after the puppies. There are commercially available products which supposedly break this habit by making the feces unacceptable, but the only sure way to prevent it seems to be immediate pick-up.
Day 37 (8-22-2021) I woke at 4:59, a minute before the Freddie alarm went off. Pulled on clothing, got the dogs out, Freddie piddling almost as soon as his feet touched the grass. Then we all went in for breakfast. As soon as breakfast was finished, and before my own tea, I took Freddie back outside. He went into the three-point stance and immediately made a substantial poop. I could ponder which of us is being trained, but I am too pleased at the (at this minute) un-pooped family room. Good Freddie.
The Home visit
Editor's note: Once references have been checked, the next step in the application-to-adopt process is having a WI Westie Rescue volunteer visit the prospective adoptive home. The volunteers often take a dog along for the home visit. It may be one of their own dogs or their foster dog. Freddie's foster family is preparing here to do the home visit for the family that applied to adopt him.
Freddie is dog-of-the-activity (i.e., he is going along on the home visit). If we do not have a foster and are doing a home visit for a rescue, we ponder our dogs to decide which is most similar to the breed/breed rescue for which we are doing the home visit. For "difficult dog" Tickie always won the casting call. Stewie is very sweet. The Loon is very weird. Piglet was the perfect home visit dog, because he was jolly, loving, sociable, and winsome. Then he would walk over and urinate on someone's furniture. The applicant's response (there was one situation, when we were shown the door quickly) told us lots about the applicant. Piglet also allowed us to tell people about belly bands.
Freddie vibrated for the first hour of the trip. When we were there, he was friendly and waggy and interested in meeting another dog (who was also waggy and friendly). He nodded sleepily on the way home and when we got back home, took a long nap. He was so relaxed that I could play with his tail and stroke his hindquarters (facing me since his head faced my feet).
Day 38 (8-23-2021) Every day Freddie is more in love with life outside a puppy mill. Today he danced in circles as he waited for me to get breakfast into bowls. I had to open a new bag of kibble, and that's three minutes longer than the dogs are used to waiting...scissors...untangle the scissors from the other scissors. So by the time I had the kibble in the bowls and the bowls onto the floor, Freddie was dancing. He is the last to be given a bowl because he eats so quickly. He could be finished before someone who eats slowly could be three pieces into breakfast.
Today Freddie began going up the step from the patio to the backdoor the way the other dogs do: both hind feet lifted to the step at the same time (before he's been climbing in a frog-like movement, lifting his hind leg way out to the side).
When we sat on the sofa to read, he lay along my side, and slept with his head in my lap.
Day 39 (8-24-2021) The Freddie alarm went off at 4:30, but when we got outside, he immediately pooped. Less happy was that overnight someone had deliberately mistaken a kitchen chair leg for a fire hydrant.
We had Honest Kitchen dog food for breakfast, another new item for Freddie. He approved enthusiastically.
Rosie decided she wanted to use the bed that Freddie had been occupying. She climbed in and stretched full length across the bed. Freddie sat on the floor near the bed, but made no move attempting to get her out of it.
Freddie comes right to the doorway of the dining room, wagging his tail. He will not yet step down (1 step) into the dining room, but he is eager to have us pay attention to him.
A positive: today for the first time, Freddie came down the hallway from the kitchen to the bedrooms.
---and an opportunity for future bravery
We were in the fenced dog area. My husband was cutting the grass on the other side of the trees (so not visible to us), but we could hear the engine of the lawn tractor. Fred panicked. He hated whatever it was. All he wanted was to be inside the house. It made no difference that the other dogs ignored the sound; Fred wanted away from it.
Day 41 (8-26-2021) Something must have happened inside Freddie's perceptions, because suddenly he's exploring. He walked down the back hallway to check out the bathroom. He came into the sewing room where I was working on dog beds. He's less frantic in the first minutes when he is lifted up and sits on the sofa next to me. And today when I came home from the horse rescue, Freddie was in the kitchen with the rest of the dogs, tail wagging, mouth barking a welcome.
In the evening, we sat on the sofa and read. My husband went into the kitchen for a meat snack and the dogs got up from the floor and jumped off the sofa to follow him. Freddie stood on the sofa on a small lap blanket and wagged his tail, looking toward the kitchen. His movements sent the blanket, and Freddie himself, to the floor. He landed with a thump and trotted into the kitchen to beg.
Day 42 (8-27-2021) This morning the Freddie alarm went off later, based partly on the dark grey sky, I think. It also went off louder because Freddie had come down the hallway to the bedroom doors and his bark reverberated off the hallway walls.
My husband brought Freddie into the living room (second time) and helped Freddie go up the ramp to the windowseat. Freddie walked up, checked the windowseat surface, and then began walking down the ramp. He stopped at the landing (halfway where the ramp turns) and stood, looking over the living room. My husband went to the bottom of the ramp and encouraged Freddie to come down. Freddie did, to much congratulations. Then when my husband turned back to the computer, Freddie walked up the ramp by himself, and back down.
As I sat down to record this, Freddie walked over to the ramp and climbed up, sniffing at the curtains and the bookcases (that lure of paper). Then he walked onto the windowseat to wag his tail and look outside. He is VERY interested in what's going on outside, but needs to share the space with a sleeping Stewing and two dog toys. He's also very smart: it took him one time to figure out the dog ramp.
Day 43 (8-28-2021) When we picked up Freddie, he was sitting next to Milo, both of them pressed close to a tall board fence. That day they had been released from the mill where they had spent their lives, "things" to make someone money. He'd been moved, shaved down, inspected, put into a crate for his own safety, and driven several hundred miles across the state. He was out of the mill, but he had no idea what was happening to him.
Today, he is boisterous, waggy, in possession of toys. He is being adopted by a family who has redesigned their deck to accommodate Freddie's needs. He has a Westie dog brother and a family of people who want to cuddle him, love him, care for his happiness. They have, they wrote, ordered the kind of dog bed that Freddie adopted in his foster home, and they believe that dogs belong on the furniture, in laps, sleeping in the ultimate acceptance: people beds with their people, during the night.
That's what good people and good rescues do: we help those in need find their way home.